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Unpaid carers have the power to swing 185 constituencies at the General Election, Carers Trust warns

Analysis from UK charity Carers Trust shows there are enough unpaid carers in 185 constituencies to potentially swing each of those seats at this week’s General Election.

There are 185 seats in England and Wales where the number of carers is higher than the current MP’s majority. They include many seats held by key figures in all parties. Among them are the Conservatives’ former leader Iain Duncan Smith and Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves and Deputy Leader Angela Rayner, and Lib Dems Daisy Cooper and Tim Farron.

A total of 96 constituencies currently held by the Conservatives could be swung by carer votes. This includes Chingford and Woodford Green where Iain Duncan Smith has a 1,604 majority in a seat with 8,225 carers. Alex Chalk’s 1,421 majority in Cheltenham could also face a threat from 6,871 carers.

In all, 83 Labour-held constituencies could see their majority overturned by carer votes. Angela Rayner has a 4,689 vote majority in Ashton-under-Lyne, a constituency of 8,517 carers. Meanwhile, Rachel Reeves is contesting the new seat of Leeds West and Pudsey which has 7,783 carers and an estimated 2019 majority of 2,963.

Carers Trust has warned that, although there are an estimated seven million unpaid carers in the UK, they have been largely ignored by most political parties during the election campaign. Many carers are looking after ill or disabled family and friends because of the crisis facing social care. Yet the social care system has also been largely absent from election debates so far. If parties are serious about tackling the social care crisis, they will need support from unpaid carers. In return, those carers need more support themselves.

Dominic Carter, Carers Trust’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs, said:

“Many carers have been plunged into poverty because of their caring role and are picking up the pieces left by a social care system that’s been starved of investment. These figures show that, although carers have been largely ignored this election, they have the power to swing huge numbers of seats across the country on July 4.

“At Carers Trust we are calling on all parties to make sure carers are no longer pushed to breaking point and are properly supported, including overhauling Carer’s Allowance – the lowest benefit of its kind. It’s not too late for parliamentary candidates to start listening to those calls. If they don’t, they could be punished at the ballot box.”

The largest majority under threat from carer power is Blackpool North and Fleetwood, where the Conservatives’ 10,119 majority for Paul Maynard could be wiped out by 10,233 carers. Seats with majorities of over 8,500 like Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe, Harrow East, Enfield North and Pontypridd are also at risk if carers vote against the incumbent.

Elsewhere, carer votes could also make the difference in marginals like Burnley, Leigh & Atherton and Wimbledon.

More than 1.5 million people in England and Wales provide at least 50 hours of care a week, with huge implications for their finances, health and future prospects. A survey by Carers Trust last year found just 55% of carers say they get the support they need, while 41% said the time they spent caring has increased. Despite this, there has not been a UK Government plan for carers since 2020 and the last cross-government Carers Strategy expired six years ago.

Notes to Editors

The list was compiled using data from the 2021 Census for England and Wales. Estimated 2019 majorities for newly created seats following boundary changes have come from a study by Professors Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, Oxford and Emeritus Professors at the University of Plymouth.

The full list is available on request. For further information or to arrange an interview, contact Carers Trust Media & PR Manager Mark Chandler on mchandler@carers.org and 07712 427808.

 

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